Evaluation of the Impacts of Regional Climate Factors and Crop Management on Corn Yields in Different Climate Regimes of China Using the DayCent Model

  •  Aihong Fu    
  •  Yongkang Xue    
  •  Melannie D. Hartman    
  •  Weihong Li    
  •  Bo Qiu    
  •  Ye Liu    
  •  Y. N. Chen    
  •  Y. Wang    


Corn is one of most important agricultural products in China. Understanding impacts of regional climate change, as well as agricultural management practices, on corn yields is critical for maintaining stable corn production. Using the DayCent model and observed climatic data in Sichuan province (a humid and hot environment) and Hebei province (a cold and dry environment) in China, corn yields in 1948-2010 were simulated. The spatial variations of simulated corn yields and the relationship between regional climate variability and warming with corn yields in these two environments were analyzed. The results demonstrated that: (1) corn yields in Zhangjiakou of Hebei and most regions of Sichuan decreased significantly after 2000 compared to other regions; (2) relative humidity and precipitation exhibit a significant negative correlation with observed crop yields in the growing season in Hebei province; (3) air temperature from 23.33 °C to 29 °C constitutes the ideal range influencing the increase of corn yields in Sichuan; (4) the planting of the large amount of silage maize in Sichuan compensated the negative impact of the rising air temperature on corn yields; (5) sensitivity tests for different fertilization levels and OMAD suggest that an increasing fertilization level significantly affects corn yields in Hebei province, a cold and dry environment, while a decreasing fertilization level has a significant negative effect in Sichuan province, a hot and humid environment. The overarching goal of these analyses is to provide the theoretical basic for maintaining stable corn production under regional climate warming and different agricultural management practices.

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